Photo: michael_swan/Flickr

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) insists the Canadian home buyer isn’t getting cold feet – the bone-chilling temperatures of January led to slower sales activity in the housing market, especially in Southern Ontario.

Overall, national home sales fell 3.3 per cent from December to January, for the fifth straight monthly decline. It also leaves activity 9.1 per cent below the peak reached in August 2013.

Sales were also down on a month-over-month basis in more than 60 per cent of all local markets in January, with declines in Greater Toronto, Greater Vancouver, London and St. Thomas, Windsor-Essex, and a number of other Southern Ontario markets.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales were 0.4 per cent above January 2013 levels. Year-over-year increases were recorded in less than half of the major markets, with increases in a number of British Columbian markets and Calgary. Southern Ontario, Quebec, and much of the East Coast saw less robust sales activity.

“Canadian housing market performance in January was a weather report of sorts, with January’s Polar Vortex having dented both resale activity and new construction,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump in the news release. Klump added that they’d be keeping a close eye on February’s numbers for signs of a rebound.

The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.2 per cent from December to January, with just over half of the markets seeing supply trending upwards. Edmonton, Regina, Ottawa and Montreal all saw supply increases, while available housing stock tightened in Greater Vancouver, Calgary and the GTA.

Overall, the country is in balanced territory since the national sales-to-new listings ratio in January was 52.4 per cent (a balanced ratio is between 40 to 60 per cent). Just under two-thirds of the markets studied posted a sales-to-new listings ratio within this range in January.

As far as pricing goes, the actual national average price (not seasonally adjusted) grew nationally to $388,553 in January, a 9.5 per cent increase from January 2013. However, the Aggregate Composite MLS Home Price Index rose 4.83 per cent on a year-over-year basis, up from a 4.31 per cent gain in December. All property types tracked by the index saw a boost in prices.

Two-storey houses measured a 5.57 per cent jump in prices, leading other property types. One-storey single family homes followed closely behind with a 5.32 per cent increase. Townhouses/row units rose by 3.94 per cent while apartment unit prices increased by 3.35 per cent.

Regionally, Calgary led price growth with an 8.98 per cent jump, followed by the GTA, which saw a 7.06 per cent spike. Greater Vancouver recorded a third year-over-year increase in a row with a 3.18 per cent in January. This comes after more than a year of declines between late 2012 and late 2013.

For more details, check out the chart below

CREA Jan 2014

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